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Limited window for tax relief claims

Shropshire businesses are being urged to grab an unexpected opportunity to maximise tax relief they thought they’d missed out on.

Francesca Hutcheson, from the tax planning team at Dyke Yaxley Chartered Accountants, in Shrewsbury, said a limited window had opened up that many businesses may not realise was available.

She added: “This is a chance for businesses to go back and claim relief for certain business expenses in circumstances where they had previously been denied a deduction.

“HMRC had previously issued guidance on reimbursed employee expenses that seemed unclear and contradictory, and companies who had relied on that advice will now be able to claim for costs which may otherwise have been overlooked.

“But many companies may not even have heard about the opportunity, as HMRC have only announced the revised advice recently, deep within their online guidance, so it would have been very easy to miss.”

Mrs Hutcheson said in the updated guidance, HMRC now said they would accept amendments to historic research and development claims in certain circumstances, as long as the amended claim is submitted by the end of January 2018.

“The policy change means that HMRC are now accepting that certain reimbursed staff expenses will qualify for research and development tax relief purposes.

“Reimbursed employee expenses such as travel and subsistence costs directly linked to research and development activities, are most likely to qualify, but there may well be other costs which meet HMRC’s criteria and could be included within a claim.

“Where you have technical staff travelling to different locations for genuine research and development purposes then the numbers could really start to add up.”

Mrs Hutcheson said the announcement meant that HMRC was now accepting, for a limited time only, amendments to claims from previous years which would otherwise have been timed out.

“The opportunity only applies to accounting periods which ended between October 9, 2014, and January 31, 2016, so it’s important to act fast if you want to avoid missing out.

“Seek professional advice and take the time to revisit your company’s claims for research and development tax relief, to see if you can benefit from this small, but potentially lucrative, window of opportunity.”

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